The days leading up to Christmas were a lot of fun. We enjoyed a lot of traditions that we’ve started since we’ve had kids, and also tried some new things that may become new traditions. It was a great time to gather with friends and family and celebrate over the holiday season.
The first tradition we love to do every year, and it’s usually the first thing we do, is get a tree from Kinsey Farms. We just love that family farm, and this year was no different. Hot chocolate, roasting marshmallows (with a two year old, who wanted to dive in, it was a bit of a disaster, but otherwise fun), enjoying the crisp cool fall weather. It was perfect. We also enjoyed eating at Rice, a Chinese restaurant that had delicious food not far from the farm that we’ve made it a tradition to go to every year after picking up our tree. We also did an artificial tree this year in the formal dining room. I had been wanting to do one since we moved in, but this year we decided we’d go for it. I’m really into gold accents these days, so this tree so this tree was a great way to showcase my taste.. The sunroom tree is a tacky family tree with homemade or school made ornaments, and ones we’ve gotten from places we’ve been, and we love it.
We enjoyed our first Christmas program at Parkway Presbyterian Preschool where Parker and Mason’s attend. We were so excited that Parker got selected to be Joseph in the school nativity. He loved his role! Mason sang with his class too and the entire program was super cute!
We have really come to love our local library. Not only have Sienna and Mason really taken to their story time every week on Tuesdays, but they also offer fun events in December! We signed up for the Polar Express pajama Party for the first time this year, and all the kids just loved it! They had hot chocolate, cookies, Polar Express story reading, crafts, and a visit from Santa himself! It was so fun, and definitely a tradition that we will have for years to come.
Another fun tradition that I like to do with the kids, one I’ve done with Parker ever since he was a toddler, is go to the Alpharetta Community Center for Cookies with the Clauses. They have such a cute program there with the free pictures with Mr. and Mrs.Clause, crafts, cookie decorating, dancing, etc. We’ve always met up with friends each year too, which has been a lot of fun. Yeah, so Sienna wasn’t a huge fan of Santa.That’s okay though, it made for fun pictures! My Mom came as well, and we enjoyed spending time with her while we were there, and she’s always such a great help with the kids too. The thing that is a little sad though, is that Parker will be in Kindergarten next year, so he will likely miss Cookies with the Clauses next year! So crazy how time flies. Soaking in the memories!
This is Dan’s second year working at Airwatch. After the amazing Christmas party they hosted last year, I was excited to see what would be in store this year. They rented out the entire World of Coke and it was amazing! They had an open bar where you could bring the soda from the soda dispensers from around the world to the bartender, and they would mix it with your liquor of choice in an ice block with slushy ice inside! How amazing is that? As if that wasn’t fun enough, they had a room for Karaoke, which was very entertaining, they had tables and tables of beautifully decorated miniature deserts for the taking. Servers with food trays asking you if you’d like an appetizer. We were pretty full when we arrived because we met up with Dan’s co-worker Zach and his wife Alissa for dinner beforehand at The Westin Sundial restaurant. I was a nice start to the evening and it just got better from there. My amazing Mom babysat the kids for us, and we made a last minute decision to grab a hotel downtown instead of heading home afterwards. That way we could sleep in after our late night and get a good breakfast before heading back home. It was so much fun getting dressed up and having a fun night out with Dan. We had a really nice time.
I also enjoyed a few parties with friends, my girlfriend Danielle put on a great party with a “favorite things” theme at her place in Woodstock. I met a lot of fun girls, and we had a really fun night. That same weekend, we attended a neighborhood party that got a little silly, and we had a really nice time there too. It’s been so fun to get to know our neighbors and know that we’re surrounded by people just as fun and crazy as we think we are.
We had a nice time Christmas Eve with the family. We always keep with tradition and we attend the Christmas Eve service at Stonecreek Church with my Mom and sister Amanda and we had a nice dinner beforehand. The kids had fun at Aunt Angie’s house opening all their gifts from family members. Can you say toy OVERLOAD? They each got a laundry bag (santa sack) full of toys. It was crazy.
Year after year, it never gets old though. I just love being with the family for the holidays! I got to use my tripod I got for Christmas a few years ago to get a nice family shot. The lighting was tricky, but at least it’s clear enough to see! That’s the most important part. With my grandmother having cancer in her liver, only the Lord knows how many Christmas Eves we’ll have with her. She is so amazing and we are cherishing every bit of time that God is giving her on earth. We finished the night with setting out cookies and “reindeer food” for Santa. The boys enjoy giving “Quackenshelf”, our elf, a hug on Christmas Eve. Since that makes him lose his magic, we had to leave a note for Santa to pick him up on his sleigh on his way to the North pole when he dropped off the gifts. Of course, right? Ha!
We had such a nice time with the family Christmas Eve. The fun didn’t stop there. We had a full day of Christmas surprises for everyone. We strapped the contour camera on top of Parker’s head and asked him to walk downstairs and tell us if Santa came. Ah… the memories! My favorite time of year!
Here’s the lowdown on the a few of the major Christmas surprises
Daddy: Small .22 handgun, 75th anniversary Red Ryder BB gun, Teavana raw tea brewing set
Mommy: New Cannon 70D base (Dan used his hilton points to get Best Buy gift cards, I had NO idea this was coming!), a Michael Kors large leather tote handbag (love it!), Lots of LUSH products (my fav!)
Parker: New ipad configured with his fav educational games, remote control spider (his santa request), Nerf gun, leapfrog interactive watch
Mason: New ipad configured with his fav educational games, Smokey the fire truck (his santa request), Nerf gun, remote control monster truck,
Sienna: New tricycle, Elsa and Anna dolls (her santa request), magna-tiles in fun pink and purple colors
The boys also got geodes in their stocking, and Parker and Daddy really enjoyed cracking those open outside to see what they looked like!
One thing that I really love to do on Christmas day is cook. I try to make what I can ahead of time, but this was what our holiday menu looked like this year.
Breakfast: Monkey bread muffins, ham and cheese omelet, strawberries
Lunch: Mini hot dog wrapped in crescent rolls, crackers and cheese spread, fruit salad
Dinner: Roasted Turkey breast (came out DEE-LISH), mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing
Dessert: Chocolate Peanut butter Pudding pie.
I know, not the healthiest, but it’s not supposed to be! It’s Christmas! We invited Dan’s friend he works with, over for dinner as well. He is single and has no local family, and we didn’t want him to be alone. Not sure being with our crazy family was much better, but at least it was something. I had a steady flow of wine and treats throughout the day, and I was feeling good. It was a great day with the family. Everyone was happy! I am so thankful for these moments. These memories. This blessing of special holidays with our family. I hope I never take it for granted!